What is Systemic Family Constellations?
Systemic Family Constellations is an innovative and powerful technique, it is a form of brief therapy with an orientation towards resolution for a specific issue or move towards change. This work reveals relationships dynamics that bring the unseen dynamics of family and other systems to the surface.
It is also called Systemic Constellation, because the process considers the whole Family System, with all the members, including previous generations.
The methods of constellation work incorporate techniques, procedures and experiences from other psychotherapeutic approaches including gestalt, hypnotherapy, behaviour therapy, and parts therapy.
Systemic Constellations looks at family matrix from an experiential perspective, this method is not talk therapy or role playing, it is more a way to explore unconscious family dynamics in the context of a body-based experience.
"Family constellation" term was used first by Alfred Adler to describe the bonds and the sense of belonging that exist in a family, then Family Constellation Theory was developed by the German therapist named Bert Hellinger. He developed his own therapy by combining his therapeutic work with what he learns from the Zulu tribes in South Africa.
This experiential approach creates a shift in perspective and creates a holistic healing process that allows the work to reach the core issue straight away. Constellations shows the energetic impact from the events in our family of origin, place of work and life events that can create noticeable yet blocks in our lives. We get stuck in repetitive patterns: we meet unavailable partners that disappear suddenly, or they find it hard to commit, we don’t get a well-deserved promotion, or we struggle with a constant anxiety.
Constellations approach can promote resolutions for issues such as:
- Depression, anxiety
- Failure at work
- Negative relationship patterns
- Family dysfunction
- Trauma, grief
- Obsessive thoughts
- Physical illnesses
- Financial problems
Inner Child Therapy
'Inner Child' refers to an inner state of being where behaviours, thoughts and feelings from childhood reoccur.
The concept originated from Transactional Analysis theory, developed by psychiatrist Eric Berne, who became aware that his clients sometimes acted as if they were children. He distinguished three important inner states of being, Child, Adult and Parent. These inner states of being are continuously in a dynamic relation to each other. You can look at these states of being as different positions from which we constantly are entering an inner dialogue and from which we are responding to the outside world.
In order to reconnect with our inner child, we require to go back and re-experience any emotions that were not processed. Carl Jung called the natural child the “wonder child”, according to him the “wonder child” is the part of the psyche with the capacity for natural wonder, curiosity and exploration.
Alice Miller, another famous psychotherapist shows in her books how the child emotional traumas, repressed humiliation and unexpressed anger can manifest themselves as a serious adult health problem.
The Psychotherapist John Bradshaw said that first we see the world through the eyes of the "inner child" who remains with us throughout our lives, no matter how apparently “grown-up” and powerful we become. If our vulnerable child was hurt, abandoned, shamed, or neglected, that child’s pain, grief, and anger live on within us. “I believe that this neglected, wounded inner child of the past is the major source of human misery"
Bradshaw's psychological premise is that by confronting the pain of your childhood, you can finally put to rest the issues that unconsciously haunt you as an adult."
Clients who have experienced trauma and struggled in childhood are still carrying their wounded child into adult life. It is this wounded child who responds to certain situations in childish ways, having a bad temper, feeling powerless and acting impulsively. Many clients describe feelings of being unmanageable and acting in conflicting ways. Therapeutically, people can explore the benefits from becoming aware of their inner child.
How does all this work in therapy?
In therapy sessions I work with elements from Transactional Analysis, Regression Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness and Part Work Therapy. The client becomes his own “parent” to the wounded “inner child” once was and with lot of love and understanding helps the child release all the burden accumulated over the years.